Angus: Another day, another excuse

Yesterday’s argument started when the partner called the platform “the AS/400″ and when I challenged them, they said “well, that’s what the customer uses”. The chart – from the customer – actually said “iSeries i5″ and the customer continued to call the platform “iSeries”.

In their second defense, the business partner told me “well, it’s just easier to use what they are familiar with”. It took me back. All I did was say “IBM i” throughout the call. And no one objected, no one misunderstood. So, using the correct branding was “hard”? Not a single moment did the customer have a difficult time understanding my use of the current branding. They know what it is. They just have not stepped up yet. Using the “it’s easier” excuse is just – in my opinion- being lazy.

Now, if YOU were a business partner to an IBM i customer, wouldn’t you want them to know that they have a strong partner? A leader in the industry? The right recommendations for the future? By using the current branding, you show your leadership. You show how you are the true “partner” for the customer, that you have their company’s best interests at heart. And you cannot do this by making excuses and using old branding.

And what if another vendor or business partner turned up and used “IBM i” for everything. The moment you are compared to the “leader”, you are going to look rather out of date and obsolete. The customer will question whether or not you actually know the industry, whether you know the branding, whether you know the platform.

The irony was, the customer actually has a Power 6+ server, running IBM i 7.1. Yet their documents continue to say “iSeries i5″ (an actual nonexistent platform) and the partner says “AS/400″. Confusing to everyone, it is truly an insult to call IBM i 7.1 by a name that is for an old piece of hardware. You are, at least, 9 years out of date with “iSeries” and 15 years out of date with “AS/400″.

Do you want to be recognized as a leader? Do you want to be a valued business partner for your customers. Do you want to show that you are up to date and representing the platform in the best interests of your customer?

It’s IBM i, dammit!

Angus: Are you doing your part?

Another day, another story about a company deciding to replace IBM i with a high cost, low reward migration. Another day, another story about how AS/400 is old and you should migrate. Another day, another complaint that “there is nothing I can do about it”.

But there is. Yesterday I posted this note to the IBM i Professionals forum on LinkedIn. The short version of the mentioned blog entry is that AS/400 does not do SQL, and AS/400 is dead so move to Windows. Both of these statements are quite false, but it is the kind of misinformation and untruths that are common in our industry.

It is quite a simple reason. There are not too many people who will make the effort to connect with people like this and counter their misinformation. So, my post on LinkedIn was to solicit support, and I posted a comment to the original blog entry. While my comment has not been “approved”, there are (at this minute) two more pro-IBM i comments on that blog entry.

So here is where you come in. If you see some nonsense post about our platform – promoting old brands, promoting a dead platform, spreading misinformation and untruths about IBM i, and so on, make some noise. I encourage you to post to your favorite online community group (IBM i Professionals on LinkedIn :-)), email your IBM i friends, tweet the world, and generally solicit some action against the noise.

Or, if you see something posted like this, respond with a note to show your support. Don’t make it personal, make it factual, make it informative, counter the misinformation, and generally be positive and educational about IBM i.

It will take a small commitment of your time. Yet, the louder the noise FOR IBM i, the better our IBM i future can be.

Are you willing to step up to IBM i and show your support?

Angus: It’s 2015 – WAKE UP!!

In 1988, System/34 and System/38 were replaced with AS/400. We universally accepted this amazing new server and never once referenced it by one of the predecessor names.

In 2008, System i and System p were replaced with Power Systems. We universally ignored this amazing new server and continue to reference the platform by one of its old brands.

What happened in that 30 years?

You. You happened. You, the person who uses the AS/400 brand and has 999 excuses for using it. It is, however, just a bunch of old and tired excuses. You never made an excuse when the AS/400 arrived. Why are you making excuses now? Easy. You are tired. You have been in this job a long time, and in 30 years, you have settled into your comfortable position. I expect there are a couple of holes in the seat of your chair where your butt cheeks fit. In 30 years, how much have you got off that behind and learned something NEW?

Did you know that IBM i has evolved far beyond OS/400? Did you know that IBM i runs on a NEW IBM server called Power Systems? Did you know that IBM i is now at a release called IBM i 7.2, which has already had 2 Technology Refreshes with major updates to the operating system, languages, database, security, etc.?

Did you know that IBM i can run PHP, Ruby, Python, node.js NATIVELY? Did you know that there are many NATIVE graphical user interfaces for IBM i? Did you know that IBM i is now managed using a graphical user interface tool?

Maybe you are one of the few who keeps up with the industry. From what I see, there is a severe lack of knowledge when it comes to the platform in 2015. In 1988, we did everything we could to learn this new amazing AS/400 platform, and in 2015, we think we know everything. And we don’t.

I ask you this question: What is wrong with calling the platform by its current brand – IBM i?

Look at all your excuses, and realize they are just that – excuses.
- IBM changed the name a few times. Since 2008, it has been IBM i and there are no plans to rename it.
- IBM did not change the name to annoy you personally. It was part of their overall branding strategy. Not good ones, as it turns out, but they have got back on track.
- IBM i is no longer OS/400 – it has evolved so far beyond what the AS/400 could do.
- IBM does not market IBM i specifically. It does market IBM i as part of their overall Power Systems marketing. This includes overlap from the money they are spending on Linux on Power.
- IBM i is an operating system. You don’t say “The Windows” and you don’t say “The IBM i”. That smacks of you thinking that the system is one box with everything in it. It is not. It is an Operating System that runs on a server named Power Systems.

And finally, get the brand right. It is IBM i. With a space.
It is not IBMi. It is not IBM-i. It is no longer i. It is not Power i. It is not AS/400. It is not iSeries. It is not Seriesi. It is not System i.

IBM i – the best operating system for business on the planet.
Power Systems – the best business server on the planet.

Will YOU throw out all your excuses? Will YOU step up to IBM i?

The future of the platform is in YOUR hands.

Angus: Another challenge to step up

I received an email today titled “I Know Your Password” from IBM i iSeries & AS/400 Security News . You can read the web version of the email here:

I was taken aback by the utter branding confusion throughout the email, and having talked to Dan in the past, I thought it was time for another attempt at reason.

Here is the response I emailed…
It’s time….

Now that it is 20i4, and IBM i has been with us for 6 years, it is time to start leading with the current and future platform branding – that is, IBM i.

While you continue to send emails out with iSeries and AS/400 as the subject, you are propagating the myth that there is some kind of question about the branding. And there is not. The platform is IBM i. It was, in the past, System i – then before that, iSeries – and before that, AS/400. And while some customers still think mistakenly that they have an old branded server, this is usually not the case.

Can I encourage you to step up to the platform’s future and start using the correct branding? That is, IBM i.

It is not “IBM i (iSeries and AS/400)”. It is not “iSeries and AS/400”. It is not “AS/400, iSeries, IBM i”. It is also not “IBM i, iSeries AS/400”. It is not “IBM i AS/400”. It is not “IBM i, iSeries”. All of these are found in this one email. It truly is adding to the confusion.

And, if you are the “Top IBM i Security Expert”, why would you be promoting old platforms that are considered out of date and dead now.

I understand the marketing requirement to attract the audience who thinks it is an AS/400 or an iSeries, but using those terms ONCE in your email or web page is sufficient for the search terms to be found. It is, in 20i4, no longer necessary to feed the backward thinking of that part of the community lost in the dark green ages.

It is time to step up to IBM i. Can you do it? The challenge is laid down…

How about you – have you a favorite brand abuser you would like to contact? If you are not up to it personally, feel free to comment the link/s here, and I will address the abuse.

Vergere: What does the term User Group mean to you?

An awesome thing happened this week, and I am sure you all heard about it since I, um not exactly subtly, SHOUTED it from the roof tops. Steve Pitcher mentioned iThusiasm in his blog! He contacted me the week before and asked permission which I appreciated and happily gave and leads me to my point.

For the record, I am doing this because of the appreciation and respect I have for this community. So if you are interested in using my “brand” or quoting me, or mentioning iThusiasm I am going to trust you to do so responsibly. Let me know so I can promote it, brag, put it in a scrapbook – but if you can’t get pre-approval from me that is okay. Yes, I’ve been on enough boards to know all too well, some people aren’t kind. And IF something is negative or used inappropriately I’ll address it then. Until someone proves me wrong, if you want to talk up iThusiasm then run with it. Except if there is potential monetization, if there is any chance of that remember, I have twins to put through college in 10 years :)

So onto the post I have been trying to complete for over a week -

As I move forward with my iThusiasm endeavor it makes sense to tell you why I am doing this.

Like others who write/present/volunteer, etc. in this community I started on the AS/400 early in my career. Loved the paycheck and respected the system then came to value the user community for support and education. While I have moved into QA (testing) and am no longer working on the IBM i exclusively I still find tremendous value from the energy and intelligence of people like you. Interestingly my husband is also a long time IBM midrange guy and he is far more a traditional (albeit progressive) Lead Programmer Analyst. While I follow many of the same people he does I am getting insight into technology, leadership, trends and their testing ramifications. He actually understands what is being discussed and implements the suggestions and techniques into his work. He also attended his first COMMON Conference in 1980 or 81- several more since then, and has been around OMNI a fair amount (Chicago’s Local User Group).

I find myself in a position of seeing both sides of things. The daily point of view I live with is that of an experienced, established programmer 30-something years into his career with all the frustrations that it can entail. Someone who needs the content produced in a very relevant way. Someone who has seen all the worst the ups and downs have wrecked on professions (and the confidence of the professionals in them). This has resulted in an attitude approximating “Dilbert.”

Then there is my opinion, someone who has decided being involved with these groups and writing about things is my idea of fun. And sincerely believes in the power of this community.

One question that has come up often this month, and not infrequently this year, is “what is…this thing you are doing? COMMON? OMNI? Is that like a group or a job?” This gets asked of us by friends and family since about four or five times a year I drop out of family life and my Facebook feed turns into all #COMMONug/Omni/#IBMi/ techie geek babble. Fortunately our friends don’t require comprehension to translate it into, “Von has fallen off the planet again -invite Drew and the kids for a play date/hang out with adults evening.”

Soon after we returned from Orlando we were at a gathering with family and “What is COMMON?” was asked. Just as I started to reply I was called away due to a juice box malfunction and handed off answering to Drew. He eloquently answered, “A User’s Group.”

Gee, thanks. That was useful.

In this case the solution was easy, I let the curmudgeon deal with child hydration and resumed the conversation. However, I started thinking about how many people would have a hard time answering that question. Especially when asked by a boss (why should you go?), co-worker who might attend an event (why should I go?), new hire who needs some education, spouse? (Really Honey, I know it looks like I am going to DisneyLand for a week without you and the kids but I promise not to have fun there…)

What is COMMON? A group of professionals who work on the IBM i or p operating systems on the Power Systems platform, which hosts multiple education events per year. The Annual Meeting and Expo in the Spring and Fall Conference are in person events delivering education, community building, and vendor exposure.

Anyone who gets that explanation already knows what COMMON is, right?

So here are my definitions. User’s Groups are a way for professionals in a given specialty to work together and get education on topics relevant to business. By forming a community and communicating with each other we leverage each other’s experience and knowledge to enhance our own efforts and deliverables. What does that mean? If I get stuck writing a new type of interface I know what blog to read, or send a note to someone I am connected to on LinkedIn, or ask a buddy to lunch and I get over the hurdle. Likewise, when I have found a great article on something our company has embraced as an initiative I pin it to the wall of my cube so my team members see it.

Conferences or Days of Education and the like are times to get more comprehensive education and exposure. There are times the attraction is getting full days worth of information on topics like PHP, Modern RPG, SQL, new IBM releases from the best minds delivering that content. Other times attending is beneficial to new employees, people changing departments or becoming crossed trained. They come with their colleagues to an event and get exposed to all the technology that feels foreign. It is a great introduction/foundation and allows the team to bond during down time and social events.

In the case of the conversation I stared referencing a cool thing happened. I described our platform as “used to be the iSeries or AS/400.” Prompting our friend to exclaim, “AS/400! I used to work on one of those, saw them all over the place.” We told him it is still around and he went on to say he hadn’t seen a Green Screen in ages. Which of course led to talking about nothing needs to be Green Screen anymore (except for that one person in one department that won’t believe it is correct unless it looks exactly the same…) The neat thing about this was it gave Drew a chance to talk about what he actually does as a programmer, something the people who like him are interested in. And it is cool how powerful a robust BUSINESS MACHINE coupled with strong programming skills is, there is a lot there to talk about.

My question to you is – what does the user community mean to you? What would you like to see from User Groups? Are you involved in your Local User Group, do you have one? What sparks your iThusiasm…?

DISCLAIMER: all thoughts and opinions are solely that of Yvonne (Von) Enselman. There is no approval from any group I may serve or my employer. (Specifically COMMON a User Group, OMNI User Group, and Kronos)


Angus: AS/400 Programmers are lazy!

Arguing with another set of suspects on LinkedIn IBM i Professionals, I discovered that people who continue to use the AS/400 branding are lazy. They don’t care to spend a small amount of effort to learn something new about their own platform. They see branding as “I don’t care” or “it doesn’t matter”. And then they spend hours arguing about why “I don’t care” or “it doesn’t matter”. Imagine how amazing our platform would be if the lazy AS/400 programmers spent their time learning, education, and promoting the IBM i platform rather than defending their laziness.

OK, so ‘lazy’ is harsh. It is just fear – them being afraid of change. No. Wait. Lazy is not so much of a stigma as fear. Lazy it is.

What is your experience when trying to get a died-in-the-wool AS/400 programmer to up their game and modernize their (a) use of branding, and (b) skill set??

Angus: Googling IBM i – or Binging?

There have been a lot of people who have complained that you cannot google “i”. And, while this is just a complaint, it has merit. No matter that the platform brand was given to us as “IBM i” when it was announced – so many years ago now, people are still ignorant of the branding requirements of any web search engine.

It is becoming clear that the average IBM i programmer really does not give much of a crap after they have finally worked out it is no longer an iSeries or an AS/400. Take our favorite midrange mailing list. This week, we have had these two headlines posted to the group.

  1. Can IBM i SMTP send on a port other than 25 {link}
  2. Any Problems Foreseen Copying Certicate Store from One i to Another i? {link}

How are we supposed to google “i”? Well, we should not have to, unless the ignorant continue to post web conversations without using “IBM i” in their subject or content.

The second part of this equation is what you should use to search for IBM i content? There are two schools of thought, one says use quotes around “IBM i”, the other says there is no need for the quotes. So, I tested. Here are the first pages of the results. As you can see, quite similar. I encourage you to test for yourself.

Googling comparison – First page

Googled - Page 1

Googling comparison – Page down

Googled - Page 1 page down

Googling comparison – Second page

Googled - Page 2

Binging comparison – First page

Binged - page 1

Angus: How do you fool a fool?

In my web navigation, I try to avoid the AS/400 mines laid everywhere – mostly from ignorance and stubbornness. I am constantly surprised at all these smart technical people stuck in the far past. I understand it is human nature to close down as you get older, and live in a shrinking comfort zone of your own choosing. But, seriously, there has to be some limits.

Take this attempt at an April Fool’s joke posted THIS year on this site! Titled “IBM Eyes End of Support for AS/400“, it was meant to scare people into thinking IBM was dropping the platform. The first paragraph showed the true colors of the poster: “Well, sure. Someday. Everything becomes unsupportable eventually. But not to worry. Nothing imminent. Just a little April Fool’s humor to get your day going.“.

Let’s review. If we assume the platform is called AS/400, this might be funny. Let’s assume the platform is not called AS/400 and has not been called AS/400 for FOURTEEN years. Actually, that is not an assumption, but the reality. So, the humor part turns out to be “Well, sure. Someday.” – because IBM dropped support for AS/400 many many somedays ago!

Seriously, April Fool’s is turning out to be full of fools lacking the actual funny part.

Now, if only this particular fool would step up to IBM i and promote a platform that IBM is actually still supporting, I may not get as much crap on my feet from stepping on so many internet land mines…

Angus: Recruiters without a spine

We live in a world of fast paced technology innovation, yet there is a large part of the IBM i community who are stagnant and lost in the past. Recruiters are in a unique position to help move our platform forward, yet while companies and programmers continue to use old branding in reference to IBM i, those recruiters tend to follow along. It would seem they would rather have the business – and the money – than take a risk and educate their customers on what is happening in the IBM i world. Twitter is full of #AS400 hashtags proclaiming all the available jobs on that old platform. This indicates a mentality of headhunter, as opposed to professional recruiting.

This week, I discovered an email promoting iSeries from a recruiter. Their page is here. I found they have no Twitter presence (supporting my theory that AS/400 and iSeries programmers don’t use social media). Surprisingly, they have a Facebook page, where I posted a plea for them to step up to IBM i. Here is what I wrote:

Your pages and advertising lead with AS/400 and iSeries. However, the hardware platform was replaced 6 years ago with the IBM i OS running on Power Systems – that is a lifetime in IT. When you use old branding, you are not supporting the future and direction of the platform, you are encouraging some of the community to wallow in the past. You are showing an unprofessional lack of knowledge about what you are selling and you are not supporting all those developers who want to move into the future and not live in that ‘glorious’ past.

What would it take for you to consider changing your marketing direction with an emphasis on the future? One where you lead with IBM i and where you use AS/400 and iSeries for SEO or as a reference to the past only. One where you educate the customer about the IBM i and Power Systems platform – rather than denigrate the platform by allowing the uneducated customer to drive the conversation and us back into the past?

Our platform is incredible. Calling it an old name makes it look old and not so incredible. The community often needs a nudge to head to the future. You, as a team of ‘professionals’ and ‘consultants’, can either consult and be professionals, or headhunt. Until you recruit IBM i resources, you will remain just headhunters…

Please step up to IBM i and its future.

If you visit that Facebook page, surprise, surprise – my comment has now disappeared.

Let’s all call our local recruiters and enlist their help in promoting IBM i and its future. Let’s talk to them about how damaging it is to continue using old branding. Let’s help them understand that the old branding could be used as SEO or ‘past experience’ requirements, but the jobs and recruitment activity should lead with IBM i.

Until recruiters get their own spine and stop headhunting, let’s tap a few on the shoulder and turn them to point in the right direction!

Vergere: iThusiam!

COMMON’s Annual Meeting And Exposition 2014, held in Orlando, wrapped up about 2 weeks ago. My voice finally recovered early this week, and I am down to less than 500 emails I need to deal with. If I spend most of the holiday weekend doing laundry and sleeping my household should be back to about normal come Tuesday. While it would be impossible to keep up that level of activity, education, interaction, and going out for any more than a week I know I don’t want to let go of my experience.

While I was still in Florida I was getting connection requests via social media, finding new people and companies to follow on Twitter, looking into some of the great vendors who supported the event. I started organizing my notes and cards, favoriting articles, and all the while  certain comments kept resonating in my heart. I don’t want to wait until Indianapolis in the fall, or Anaheim next spring to connect with my new friends. I want some way to share the great materials that keep me engaged throughout the year.

Since I became involved with COMMON 2 years ago the most consistent comment people have made to me is they like my enthusiasm. They see, quickly, after meeting me, that I truly believe in this platform and community and I want to do everything I can to keep it strong.


From Merriam-Webster

Enthusiasm: Strong excitement about something: a strong feeling of active interest in something you like or enjoy

: something causing a feeling of excitement and active interest: a hobby that someone feels enthusiastic about

Full Definition

1a: belief in special revelations of the holy spirit

1b: religious fanaticism

[NOTE: pretty well sums up my reactions to Trevor Perry’s sessions…]

2a: strong excitement of feeling: ARDOR

2B: Something inspiring zeal or fervor

[NOTE: Ardor? Maybe a little much but I have come to care deeply for many of the friends I’ve made. And as a Quality Assurance professional my appreciation for the stability of the IBM i approaches fervor..]

iThusiam is my vehicle and brand to communicate my opinions and support for the IBM i on Power Systems, the professionals who support it and are supported by it, and the user groups (both local and large) that bring us together. It is a way for me to share the links that show up in my feeds and lead to great articles and opinions. It is a place to be honest about things like how cool it was to meet Amanda Blackburn after reading her posts on Facebook for well over a year. It is a way to share the energy we get from each other, and hopefully to attract and support the next generation. 

Mostly I want to champion the amazing community I have found myself in and share the efforts of so many bright and interesting individuals.

So please, join me and keep the conversation going -

FaceBook – LinkedIn – Twitter (@enselman) – #iThusiasm and groups are on FB and LinkedIn

Blogging under Vergere on Angus the IT Chap

DISCLAIMER: all thoughts and opinions are solely that of Yvonne (Von) Enselman. There is no approval from any group I may serve or my employer. (Specifically COMMON a User Group, OMNI User Group, and Kronos)

Angus: IBM i Disconnected, Disaffected

I wrote this piece for the December 2013 COMMON Connect magazine. I found it again in an unrelated google search, and thought it should be reposted..


Everyone knows our platform is the best business platform on the planet. Period. No matter what other server proponents say, we have the best return on investment, the best scalability, the best reliability, and the best applications. Yet, we seem to be constantly fighting a battle against competitors and naysayers, who tell the world we are out of date and no longer relevant.

Running IBM i on Power Systems affords us many advantages. From a virtualization perspective, Power Systems provides complete integration with multiple IBM i instances and other operating systems. Live Partition Mobility and HA/DR offerings allows us to deliver, manage and support IBM i 24×7 without regard to the physical server location. In the recent Technology Refresh 7 for IBM i 7.1, RPG is now a completely free format modern language, which suits business better than any other language. Ruby on Rails is now native to IBM i, adding to the strong PHP adoption over the last few years.

Why then, does the world appear willing to move companies away from this incredible platform? The answer requires us to be introspective. If you ask any community member, the majority will respond and aim blame squarely at IBM – whose faults, it seems, are many. Which is ironic, given they are the provider of this wonderful platform. If we look closely at our community – and that includes each and every one of us, you
will find a level of dysfunction afforded to most families. Discuss the platform with a random sampling of community members and you will hear a plethora of responses.

At the Enterprise2013 conference, at least six names/brands were mentioned when talking about the platform. Five years in, many people still do not realize that Power Systems is a new platform – not just a rename or a rebranding. Before listening to IBM i sessions, attendees were mixed in their opinion about whether or not the platform could “do that”, in reference to modern technologies, modern architecture, modern software solutions, etc.

When our own community does not have a consistent approach to what the platform is or what it can do, that becomes proof to the outside world that our platform is stuck in some dark age. It is beyond time for us to counter that. To us, individually and as a community, IBM i is a large part of our world. If we were to act as a united community, imagine how quickly we could expose the misinformation spread by the naysayers and prove to the world the value of our platform to an IT organization.

IBM will continue to market in their own time, their own ways, and with their own money as they see fit to suit their business goals. IBM i is simply one very small part of that picture to IBM.

Ask yourself if you are doing all you can to support and promote IBM i, along with your peers in your local community, and your IBM i family around the world. Your task, should you choose it, is to tell the world that IBM i on Power rules. Are you up for it?

Angus: What does it take?

Last night at a user group, I was given the excuse “It is still named Windows!”, in response to a discussion about the correct branding for the IBM i platform. And, this particular complainer was quite sincere. There seemed to be no purposed for this ‘excuse’, but a tired old platitude that had not quite worn itself down to nothing.

Having thought about it for a while, I realized something important. That complaint is about branding. It is about whether or not IBM should have rebranded. And quite simply, that argument is out of date. IBM ~did~ rebrand our OS to IBM i in 2008 to match their Power Systems branding. It is done, over, fait accompli.

It is time to stop using that excuse. One down, four million to go.

Angus: Still flailing

It is 20i4, and we are still a bunch of whiners. What a sad state of the community. IBM i was branded in 2008, to represent a new evolution in our world. The hardware was now Power Systems, and our beloved platform was morphed into an operating system. Yet, six years later, we are still complaining.

Is it just because we are a bunch of old farts blowing in the wind? We did have passion for this platform once before. When the AS/400 was released, no one called it a S/38 or a S/36. Yet today, the same people who were so gung ho about the amazing AS/400, seem to have got stuck in the last century. With Power Systems, IBM i has evolved into an even better OS, become more integrated, can run inside a Pure System, and continues to evolve. What happened to the passion of all those AS/400 gung hos? Did it all just dribble out below the chair you are stuck in?

Just this week, a community pundit made the claim that if IBM gave them a commitment for at least ten years for IBM i, he would start calling it by the correct branding. This smacks of two nonsense things. First, starting about eighteen months ago, prominent IBM speakers showed charts with a commitment beyond 2025. The nonsense here is that this particular pundit is actually contributing to the world about the platform, yet has apparently missed one of the biggest stories yet? Second, the IBM i brand has now been with us for six years, and the AS/400 has been gone longer (14 years) than it was sold by IBM (12 years). Some of the community took six years to adopt the iSeries brand after the AS/400, so I expect we should see a turnaround in 2014. The nonsense here is that IBM’s branding is what matters, not what is deemed by an individual pundit to be “right” – especially when that pundit has ZERO marketing and branding skills.

All over the web, the IBM i community is flailing. The stubborn ignorance of the AS/400 Professionals LinkedIn group means we can still wallow in the past for as long as we like. And the complaints! Oh, the complaints. Even on the IBM i Professionals LinkedIn group there are a bunch of excuses and inane justifications about why we should still use the old branding. It is simply complaining. Whining. Seriously, it serves only one thing – that is, the outside IT community looks at the IBM i community and laughs. The platform detractors continue to use this against the platform – quite amazing, when you think how the platform can do so much that its own community does not even know all that it can do.

It is so obvious what needs to happen. Education. We need to combat the ignorance of the dark green ages, and bring the community into 20i4. For starters:

The AS/400 is dead.
IBM i is an operating system.
IBM i runs on Power Systems servers.

But are those living in the dark green AS/400 cave willing to venture out? For those who are listening, for those who have passion for IBM i, let’s plan on 20i4 being the year of education. Let’s spread as much information about IBM i as possible – its legacy, its capabilities, its future.

Are you up for it? There are a bunch of senior citizens who need their hand held while they grumble as they waddle into the light.

Angus: Hope and Ostriches

In a recent LinkedIn conversation, the discussion was divided into two camps. One was anti-RPG, the other pro-IBM i. Quite fascinating to see the attempt to spread lies and misinformation from the original poster, but given that their job is to move people away from the platform, it makes sense – albeit, imperfect.

What is bothersome is the complete lack of spine from our community. Here we have an anti-IBM i proponent being given a forum in a pro-AS/400 platform. The continued ignorance of the group’s name aside, it would be supposed that the forum comprises people who are FOR the platform. According to some of the commenters, it is the troll’s freedom of speech that gives him the right to post his fear and misinformation. While I disagree, there has certainly been some amazing pro-IBM i responses to the thread. Since the troll will reappear in a few months with his vomit, at least we see a strong level of support from a few members of the IBM i community.

The interesting perspective that has fallen out of this seems to point to a general malaise in our community. It is clear that small businesses do not have any IT Strategy. And, our community seems to not understand, or misunderstand, the concept of strategy in any sense – let alone for IT. Take for example, these two excerpts from the comments:

“As you said, it is entirely possible to gradually modernize from the inside out. … All we can do is lead the horses to water, and hope they choose to take a drink.”
“I’m an evangelist too. However, if my cheering sounded muffled it is because as an IBM i evangelist, I had to have my head buried in the sand.”

What fascinating and utterly ignorant perspectives. They seem to reflect the common complaint that “waah waah, they are taking away my IBM i”. What a lazy cop out.

Here is one simple truth. Leading a horse to water does not include a constant complaining that the management of your business did something with which you disagree. If you want to support the platform, lead the horse, bring the bucket, make the horse drink – push the horse into the water if nothing else works. Using hope as a business or IT strategy is quite ridiculous. Even though it has been proven not to work (over and over), there are a community of people who continue to rely on hope and wishing.

Here is another simple truth. If you are an evangelist, evangelize! Sticking your head in the sand means you do not understand what an evangelist does. If you find a barrier, push through it. If you find resistance, work to remove it. Evangelizing requires you to learn everything you can about the platform and educate everyone you can about the platform. Stopping for a moment is half-hearted at best, and totally dysfunctional to boot.

If you do believe in this platform, then it is your privilege to promote this platform. And that means talking about it to everyone. When you continue to converse with your users or customers in old vernacular, you show your ignorance and support only the platform’s past. When you make excuses about why you should or should not make a business case for IBM i to present to your company, you will lose your platform. One recent experience was at a user group where an individual complained that his company would not adopt PHP on i. I asked him how he went about it, and he said he asked his boss and his boss said no. I asked him where his business case was, and he said he had stopped trying to get PHP into the company. Certainly, presenting a business case can be a daunting task for a mere programmer, but the might of the IBM i community is behind all of us.

There is absolutely no reason for a single one of us to be intimidated by our position inside a company that would cause us to stick our head in the sand and hope for a miracle. It is time for the IBM i community to get a spine, climb to the top of the nearest boardroom table, and shout to everyone about our beloved platform.

IBM i: 25th Anniversary Celebrations: IBMi25 Campaign

The IBM i 25 event is to recognize and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the IBM i platform. It has many events and activities, all around the world. This page is an index of the activities around the event on the web.

IBMi25 Videos

Related Videos

Colin Parris General Manager – IBM Power Systems


IBMi25 on Facebook

IBMi25 – the complete story

IBM i 25

Angus: Comparison of the centuries

20th century 400

21st century Power

Angus: Lamborghini bested in Power duel – against IBM i!

This series of charts is based on research in May 20i3 comparing a line of famours Lamborghini sportcar models with a line of famous servers supporting the IBM i platform.































Disclaimer: Numbers are approximate representations and not meant to be accurate. Comparing Lamborghini to IBM i on Power Systems is purely for entertainment purposes. Laughter is your own choice..

Angus: You are the source of your own complaint!

One of the loudest complaints about the branding for our platform is that you cannot google the name. Certainly, you would be foolish to think you could google the letter “i” – which happens to be the actual brand name. The answer is simple: you google “IBM i” – quotes or not.

I contend that until we start using “IBM i” in our internet correspondence, we won’t be able to google anything. However, it seems that people are starting to get the concept. Many vendors are leading with “IBM i” on their websites, in their blogs, and in their marketing materials.

Yet, there are still many posters who forget that simple concept. Just this week, I read a thread on midrange-L titled “SSL and public facing web site on the i“. How will any google search find this? Even the content had no mention of “IBM i”, so in the final google result, this discussion will be lost for all time. We have to pay attention to this, especially if we are the ones complaining about the lack of google results!

Even the press in our “IBM i” industry tend to be conflicted about this concept. IT Jungle’s Dan Burger wrote a great article about the future of our platform, and used a neat title “i Is For Investment“. Of course, in the fourth sentence of the first paragraph, Dan mentions “IBM i”. And, it is mentioned thirteen more times in the article. Google will find it, but without the title including the branding, the importance level of this article in the search results will be much reduced.

The answer is twofold. 1. Stop complaining about not being able to google for information about our platform. 2. Start using “IBM i” in your discussion titles, your comments – all your public-facing internet correspondence.

Very soon, we will find our world has less complaining and far more information!

Angus: Community leaders! Step UP, not back…

To {your-name-here}, a community leader,

Would you consider assisting some of the rest of us in the community? We are trying to make a move from the old branding. Several years ago, we asked the manager/s of AS/400 Professionals LinkedIn group to upgrade the name of the group, and they flat out refused. All efforts since then, by various people, have failed to raise awareness of the fact that the platform is IBM i and runs on a new hardware server.

Our concern is that while some of our community doggedly stick to the old naming, those people also stick to old techniques of development and methodology. This leads to a perception in companies that our technology is outdated, and leads to more replacement of IBM i with non-IBM i solutions. Our efforts are to encourage the community to overcome their stubbornness and realize that the future of our platform is IBM i. Our efforts are to get those who see it as an AS/400 or iSeries, to see the platform in its current form – an OS that supports their OS/400 and i5/OS applications, but does so much more. A simple example is Live Partition Mobility – not something that can be done on an AS/400, and is one of the many amazing things that can be supported with IBM i.

To raise awareness of this, we have a quandary. Vendors specifically, need access to as much of their constituency as they can. AS/400 Professionals has almost 15,000 members. IBM i Professionals has more than 4,500 members, and both are growing around the same amount each week. Vendors need access to the “extra” 10,000 (or maybe 12,000 who don’t overlap?), so they want these people to listen to them. IBM wants to talk to them. Yet, most of them don’t see the platform as IBM i – thus, the quandary.

So, we need to make the AS/400 Professionals members aware that IBM i is our future. There have been various attempts to do so, but each of them has reached a complete pushback and negative reaction from the noisy members, those stuck far back in the AS/400 cave. One of the methods proposed is to leave the group in droves – but as I said, vendors feel they cannot, so the membership is growing. Another of the methods is to stop posting in the group – that appears to have failed also. The third way has been a little more successful, but needs to gain traction – someone posts an article or discussion in another group, and in AS/400 Professionals, posts a link to the discussion in the other group. That tends to have some more members join the other groups, so it works for awareness. In the long run, of course, we would simply like the AS/400 Professionals group to be renamed, and since they won’t, it needs to fade into history. And, as you are a proponent of our platform, surely you have some other ideas?

Unfortunately, there are prominent members of our community who continue to answer questions and contribute to discussions in the AS/400 Professionals group. You are one of them. You are visible, and you are regularly commenting in that group. The concept is, that while you continue to do so, you are promoting the thought that AS/400 is current, and that it is ok to continue to promote AS/400 (or is that de-mote?). This is not supporting the future of our platform, rather, it is telling the people who are stubbornly refusing to go beyond the AS/400 that it is ok to do so. And it simply isn’t.

Our community needs its leaders to support the future of our platform, otherwise, we simply don’t have a future. The tide is finally turning with vendors, who are now realizing that they should promote IBM i products and services, even though the audience is mixed between IBM i and AS/400 bigots. We need some people pushing forward, and that group is growing. Unfortunately, every time {your name here} posts an answer in AS/400 Professionals, it makes the rest of us have to work that much harder to combat “the name doesn’t matter” myth.

The name does matter, because it makes the world look at the platform differently. If outsiders see it as an AS/400, they won’t come. If graduates see it being used like an AS/400, they won’t come. If our own developers see it as an AS/400, they won’t move forward, and we will lose more. We need the community to promote IBM i and its future, and we need your help.

Can you assist in moving the perception of our platform from AS/400 to IBM i? It is time…

Angus: Learn a new tool or three..

Part of the excitement of being in the Information Technology industry is that we get to be privy to the fabulous stuff that runs the world. Having been a computer geek of some form or another since high school, having had one of the first generation of IBM PCs, along with having an IT consulting career, I have witnessed so much of the history of computing. I am constantly amazed by what is new at every turn. The iPad changed the world. QR codes came, were predicted to have a short life, and are now pervasive. Connecting the world is getting easier. Communicating with friends, family and spammers is a snap. Voice recognition will probably disappear as bond conduction technology improves. Finger gestures on a tablet will move to the air. Technology amazes, surprises, and constantly changes.

However, there are some amongst the IT faithful who still use a hammer to solve every problem. All around us, we see new technology that can be used for our businesses. There are new methodologies, new development techniques, and tools that can improve our agility and the agility of our applications, and turn IT into an effective strategic business partner.

And then, I attend a user group conference or meeting in the IBM i community. I am told about how the AS/400 rocks. I am told how iSeries is the best platform IBM sells. I am told how “I don’t like the name, so I ain’t using it”. On a technical mailing list, a reply to a post with “IBM i” in the title contains the words “on the System i”. References are made to a platform that is dead, one that is almost gone, and one that has been forgotten. And none of those is as amazing, surprising, or evolving as IBM i on Power.

What happened to our community? The overall general confusion of using outdated branding simply looks like we don’t care about our platform enough to learn about our platform. Yet, each of these ignorant iBlasphemers claims to love love love this incredible platform. They state that it is the best on the planet. Which begs the question: If your platform is so great, what would happen if they upgraded it to something new and more incredible? Wouldn’t you want to move to that MORE incredible technology?

Well, IBM i is. All that you could do on your wonderful AS/400, incredible iSeries, fabulous System i, is available on the amazing, wonderful, fabulous IBM i on Power. If you don’t already have IBM i on Power, your next upgrade to a new server will bring you there, and your next upgrade to a used server will get you closer. IBM i is your platform, it is the current platform IBM is evolving, and your toolbelt should contain more than just the hammer of “I don’t like the name”.

As IT Professionals, isn’t it our own responsibility to keep up with technology? When you utter the out of date branding as though it were a new thing, your hammer is showing. After FIVE years of IBM i, your hammer is rusty. The buildings you are creating will topple at the first wind, and no one wants to live in them any more. Arm yourself with a little knowledge and make this community whole once more. To build a future on modern technology, rediscover your passion for IT, and you will find your passion for IBM i will be sparked.

Angus: Wallow in our future.

During this week’s COMMON Annual conference, it was refreshing to see how the IBMi25 campaign, simply by its existence, stirred more of the community to reference the platform by its current branding. The speakers, for the most part, have upped their game, and this too, impacted the community in a positive way. There are still some holdouts, making various (ignorant, IMO) excuses, but that is almost gone from this event. Vendors are slowly getting their act together, and the number of booths with some past branding was reduced from previous events. When confronted about their lack of support for the ~actual~ platform, there was the usual (ignorant, IMO) stable of excuses.

For my part, I talked with several vendors about the difference between marketing a product and marketing to an audience (see my blog titled Marketing in the 21st IBM i century!), and it resonated very well. I think this is a successful approach to having vendors understand that their support for our platform is better served by leading with IBM i and understanding SEO to attract those customers who are as yet, unaware of the incredible combination of IBM i on Power Systems.

Other IBM i pundits, including some of the IBM Power Champions, approached vendors with their own thoughts on modernizing their branding vernacular and supporting the future of our platform. It seems that until vendors realize that their outdated marketing efforts are keeping customers in the dark and causing harm to the future of IBM i, there will still be a need to confront their activities with some strength.

It is true that some vendors either do not understand marketing, or have incompetent or unqualified marketers, or simply trust their marketing to their sales organization. In all these cases, they do not realize that IBM i on Power Systems is a new paradigm – an OS running on the best business hardware in the world, and an OS that will support and run all the applications running on your “old” platform. They seem to be confused when one person utters an old brand name, and being unarmed with the facts of the platform evolution, choose to ignore the obvious fact that with a very small amount of education, they could not only convince the customer or prospect of the value of an upgrade to IBM i, they might engender a solid amount of excitement and passion for our beloved platform.

In my case, I began a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #IBMiStepUp – see more in my blog post titled Step up to IBM i!. When I see a vendor with a particularly abhorrent campaign or website, an #IBMiStepUp tweet will call them out and encourage them to lead with IBM i. One vendor in particular – who does well in support of our platform, has a specific marketing campaign that includes a daily “IBM i” online paper. They informed me I would be excluded from that campaign.. er.. paper, because I was a bully. Since then, none of my tweets from my angustheitchap handle will appear in their “paper”. As it turns out, they have also filtered out (censored?) other IBM i champions and tweeters from their “paper”. This seems to me to be quite wrong – advertising an “IBM i” publication that is nothing more than a marketing campaign for their own company, disguised as support for the community. If it were named for their company, it would not be as heinous, but it is simply one more example of the community having to sort through vendor FUD.

This community deserves more from its leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors. The first step is realizing that IBM i on Power Systems is a new paradigm, and the one that is our future. No matter your current platform, you will/should soon be upgrading to IBM i on Power. The more leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors who talk about the old branding, the more our customer base will believe there is no future, and the more will be convinced to leave the platform entirely. If this is not clear by now, the fifth anniversary of Power Systems and IBM i, then it has to become obvious and the focus for our leaders, speakers, pundits, and vendors.

Last week on Twitter, one vendor defended their use of old branding to sell modern technology by claiming they were “Switzerland in the name game”. Ironically, by saying there is a name game, they actually engaged in it – engaging in war is not neutrality.

If you are a leader, speaker, pundit, vendor, customer, developer or any other kind of interested community member, then it is time to stop the noise. Any time you respond to the use of the old branding with the new branding (with no argument needed), you are educating and promoting our future. Any time you respond in a forum that is branded for the past, you have an opportunity to educate and promote the future (with no argument needed). Any time you drop the old vernacular, recognize and respond to the old with the future, you are educating and promoting our platform.

Isn’t it time you stepped up? Stop engaging in a game that should have been put to bed five years ago when IBM upped theirs. Move away from the vernacular of the past, which by its nature supports a mentality of living, developing, and promoting the past. Find the place where you are comfortable in talking about your platform in modern and future terms – which will start when the current branding becomes native to your own brain.

It is time to wallow in our future.

Angus: Time to stop the rhetoric

The 20i3 COMMON Annual conference is being held in Austin, TX this week. IBM have brought their IBM i 25th Anniversary celebrations. With that, the excitement in the community in attendance has been stirred, the passion is high, and the conference is buzzing.

There are, as usual, some holdouts. One prominent vendor is advertising their System i products – I stuck an IBM i sticker over that. Several vendors are promoting iSeries solutions, and attendees are generally giving them grief. The excuses range from “the customers call it that, so I have to” to “the platform is dead” to “IBM i is just iSeries”.

All of these excuses are utterly ignorant, showing that the vendors do not understand marketing a product as opposed to marketing to an audience. Their marketing skills seem to resort to poor selling techniques when their first response to the “why iSeries” question is not a question, but a defense born of frustration.

Certainly, vendors – and the community, need to understand and learn how to market IBM i products to an audience which includes IBM i customers, iSeries customers, AS/400 customers, and the occasional System i customer. However, this should not preclude them from understanding that while we have a strong legacy (proven) starting with the AS/400, we have had IBM i on Power Systems (which is a NEW platform, BTW) for five years.

IBM i has proven its longevity. While customers may be holding out, vendors have a responsibility to educate, support, and promote IBM i – the future of our platform. They must upgrade their marketing. And, the ignorant defense of “thats what the customer calls it” needs to be removed from the equation. If you are a leader in our community, you will be a leader, not a follower.

And the rhetoric of “the platform is dead” or “the platform has no future” or “the platform is dying” needs to simply be dropped from the vernacular of those vendors who are in this industry for the long term. Not a whisper, not a mention, not a hint of that FUD should be uttered from anyone in our community.

Then, when we hear that FUD, we know it is coming from those who wish to migrate us from the platform, and we can act accordingly.

Angus: Twenty five

I will have been in the United States for 25 years on May 15th, 20i3. I was working as a System/38 consultant, teaching RPG and SYNON, and working on midrange ERP applications, when I was offered a job and upon accepting, moved to Chicago. Last week in Manhattan, I had dinner with the owners of the company who brought me to the U.S. It was a wonderful evening, reminiscing and catching up. Our conversation were also very lively about the future of computing, devices, applications, user experience and I.T. in general. Our shared past is very special to us, and our shared passion for the world of I.T. means we will remain friends for many years to come.

I feel very much the same way about IBM i and the community around the platform. A month after I arrived in Chicago in 1988, the AS/400 was announced. Of course, much of the community were aware of something happening at IBM (named Silverlake) that would affect S/38 and S/36 customers, and there was huge excitement in the industry to match the announcement from IBM. Twenty years later, with the merger of System i and System p hardware into Power Systems we were reminded of how amazing our AS/400 was. IBM, however, continued the amazing, evolving OS/400 into IBM i – an operating system worthy of our heritage, and built to run on the new industry leading Power Systems servers. In the last five years, our new home has proven to be a hardware platform on which we have a strong future. IBM i will celebrate its 25th anniversary in world class shape, leveraging an incredible heritage. For our community, our shared past is very special, and our shared passion for IBM i means we will remain friends for many years to come.

I am excited to watch – and participate – in the IBM i 25th anniversary celebrations. You can be engaged in many ways, and Steve Will starts the ball rolling with his latest You and I blog entry.

And, while you are muddling around on Facebook today, like the IBMi25 page for even more continuing action. See you in Austin for the in-person celebrations!

Angus: Marketing in the 21st IBM i century!

If IBM i really is the best platform on the planet, why are people trying to sell its predecessors?

For all the IBM i vendors, recruiters and other parties, here are two basic questions for you related to marketing to the IBM i community:

  1. What are you marketing?
  2. To whom are you marketing?

I hear the same (tired old) complaints about our community, in that they mostly do not call the platform by its current branding. Many customers I visit do refer to the platform as AS/400, iSeries or System i, and occasionally something more obscure like i5. The marketer response has been that “we have to cater for all these perspectives”. And, to cater for that audience, marketers use various names for the product they are pitching, thinking that will attract the audience they desire. Instead, it makes them look like they are trying to sell coal to fuel a gas heater.

It is important to distinguish WHAT you are marketing from the audience TO WHOM you are marketing. Using an old platform name to attract an audience, is like trying to sell a Windows tablet by calling it a DOS computer. A skilled marketer would be selling a Windows tablet by marketing to everyone – including a Windows audience and a DOS audience. But they would never market something by its old branding.

So, it is time for marketing teams in our IBM i community to get their act together. It is time to start marketing the hell out of IBM i. Instead of changing the branding in a poor attempt to attract the desired audience, we should be marketing IBM i products, events, jobs, etc, to an IBM i, System i, iSeries and AS/400 audience. Using buzzwords and old branding should not be the focus – instead, it should be a means to attract an audience to the cool, new and exciting things that IBM i represents.

Find your IBM i product, and market it to the IBM i, iSeries, AS/400 and System i audience.

Angus: Confused?

Here is a little clarification.

The IBM i branding is so easy!

  • When you speak, say i.
  • When you write, use IBM i.

What the branding is not:

  • IBM i™
  • “i”
  • IBM “i”
  • IBM/i
  • iOS
  • i/OS
  • IBM i AS/400
  • Power i
  • Power IBMi
  • IBMi (ex AS400)

What the branding never was:

  • i5
  • sys/i
  • whatever they call it today..

What the branding was, once upon a time:

  • Last century:
    • AS/400
    • OS/400
  • Early this century:
    • iSeries
    • eServer iSeries
    • System i5
    • System i
    • i5/OS

What the brand name is:

  • i

What Google will never find:

  • i

What Google will find:

  • IBM i

What Google needs for the most common searches:

  • IBM i (Power Systems software including AS/400, iSeries, and System i)

(Borrowed from the current title of the IBM i home page).

What the Twitter hashtag is:

  • #IBMi

In summary:

Speak Write Market
i IBM i

IBM i (Power Systems software including AS/400, iSeries, and System i)


It is so easy, it bears repeating..

  • Speak i.
  • Write IBM i.

Start your day with a new attitude towards the platform you love!